12/06/2007, 00.00
RUSSIA

Moscow’s first Muslim clinic opens

Sharia will be enforced in the facility: patients and staff will be segregated on the basis of sex with female patients treated by veiled female doctors for men as well as halal medicines and food. The initiative is part of a renewed co-operation between Russia’s Muslim community and the Russian government. The chairman of the Mufti Council of Russia is quite happy.

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Moscow’s first private clinic based on Sharia law opened its doors yesterday. “The policlinic will strictly abide by Sharia law by observing, above all, gender differences in its services,” said Anna Kisko, a spokesperson for the health network responsible for the facility.

In the new centre women will be served by female specialists; men by male specialists, she told the Interfax Religion agency.

The administrative personnel will also be dressed accordingly to Sharia law, i.e. the doctors will only have their hands open and female doctors will have to wear headscarves or possibly hijabs.

The opening of a Halal cafeteria and a prayer room with a screen separating men from women should also be available at the policlinic. In addition, all medicines used at the policlinic will have to conform to Halal principles and not contain any alcohol.

The creation of a Muslim hospital is backed by Russia’s health ministry and the Mufti Council of Russia. Ravil Gainutdin, the council’s chairman, could not hide his satisfaction over the initiative. For him the new facility “will be useful not only for Russian Muslims but also for personnel from the embassies of Muslim countries in Russia, especially women, who are forced to go abroad for treatment.”

Mr Gainutdin said he was convinced that Russia society will accept the clinic and that the facility will contribute “to mutual understanding between nations and religions.”

In a population of about 140 million, Muslim represent about 10-15 per cent. Co-operation between Russia’s Muslim community and the country’s political authorities has improved recently, most notably during the recent parliamentary elections and is continuing in the current campaign for the presidency.

The Mufti Council of Russia has indeed promoted the creation of a movement called “Muslims for Putin.”

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